From millennial-pink distilleries to charming French-inspired bistros, the capital city is on fire these days.
This modest spot in downtown Edmonton is fairly barebones when it comes to interiors: ductwork is exposed, walls are unadorned and the open-concept kitchen is so minimally divided from the rest of the room it feels as though the chefs are dining alongside you. But none of that really matters when the food is this good: seasonally inspired small plates that celebrate the West and the ingredients that come from it. You can’t go wrong with any of Bündok's dishes, though we recommend the pillowy soft gnocchi, the fresh greens and ya pears tossed in Earl-Grey vinaigrette and crushed pistachio and, for the carnivores, the beef Carpaccio and crispy fried chicken skin. bundokyeg.com
Kanto 98 St. Eatery
Taking part of its name from the Tagalog term for “street corner,” this chill counter-service joint in Edmonton’s Chinatown serves up generous baskets of Filipino comfort food that are as messy to eat as they are downright tasty: skewers of grilled beef and liempo, garlic fried rice and owner and chef Edgar Gutierrez’s take on spaghetti and fried chicken, the sweet coated-in-banana-ketchup-sauce dish beloved at fast-food chain Jollibee. The baos—marinated meats tucked into folded rounds of steamed bun—are well known around town, though we’d argue it’s the DIY Sisig Tacos, tender sautéed pork belly and tomato-annatto salsa stuffed in hard-shell tortillas, that are the most finger-lickingly addictive. kanto98st.com
This buzzy little cocktail bar in the Oliver ’hood shakes (and stirs) up some of Edmonton’s most inventive libations. Take the Caballo, for instance, a revitalizing and boozy blend of mezcal, Blanco tequila, green chili and celery, or the Harvest, which mixes aquavit, Herbs de Provence and lacto-fermented carrot (say what?) with perplexing success. And then there’s the Amazon: tropical-cool cachaça, passionfruit and coconut cream poured into a bright parrot-shaped Tiki mug. The intimate Art-Nouveau vibe and equally impressive food lineup—think chevrè-and-squash purée, fresh oysters and Atlantic ling cod poached in blue-cheese butter—guarantee you’ll be out well past your bedtime. barclementine.ca
Just a few months old, Partake—the newest venture from chef Cyrille Koppert and restaurateur Lisa Dungale, who, together, operate Urban Diner next door—is already bustling on a Friday night and it’s not hard to see why. With its faux-tin ceiling, wooden bistro chairs and charming dark-stained bar, the place is essentially a slice of France transported to Edmonton’s High Street. Nab a booth seat and dig into rustic share plates like savoury pissaladière, fluffy-as-clouds duchesse potatoes drizzled with truffle oil, and beef tartare, which is mixed with capers, egg yolk and beet-barley relish to carnal perfection as soon as it arrives at the table. The cocktail and rotating wine lists are also fantastic—ask for the Empyreal, which uses violet Empress gin, for a sip that’s as tantalizing as it is ’grammable. ouipartake.com
An unassuming millennial-pink building in Old Strathcona houses Edmonton’s first distillery, which, at a compact 740 square feet, is also North America’s smallest (and quite possibly most adorable.) Master distiller Adam Smith sources his ingredients locally, resulting in vodkas, gins and a soon-to-be-released whiskey that spotlight the area’s best bounty. The crown jewel is the Badland Seaberry Gin, a London dry–style spirit infused with 10 botanicals and foraged sea buckthorn, which lends each sip an earthy, spicy flavour. Look up during your tasting: the chunky sound-dampening devices that hang from the ceiling are remnants of Strathcona’s former life as one of the city’s coolest underground music clubs. strathconaspirits.ca
Brunch is a popular pastime in Edmonton, as evidenced by the plentiful suggestions proffered by locals when you ask for their favourite mid-day-meal spot (you’ll find it’s impossible for them to pick just one), and Pip serves up some of the best. Situated in Old Strathcona, the cozy, prettily tiled joint offers brunch—and, more importantly, brunch cocktails—seven days a week, with plates like Short Ribs Egg Benedict and Sweet French Toast Bake satisfying famished peeps on the reg. Order the Breakfast Sandwich—presented open-face and loaded with sausage or avo (or both!), artichoke mayo, cheddar, arugula and an egg, and thank us as you drift into a sweet, sweet food-coma. pipyeg.com